van Zutphen Family Testimonial


“For us, XCL World Academy blends the best of curriculum, campus, and culture… we are extremely happy that Kate and Max are part of this learning community and we are seeing them truly excel.”

The America van Zutphen family Glenn, Kat, and their two children Kate (18), and Max (14) share what made XCL World Academy (XWA) an easy decision when looking for an international school. Kat is an innovation & digital transformation specialist and works in Mastercard’s Digital Labs innovation team while Glenn is a career journalist, CEO of VanMedia Group and host of a weekly radio show on MoneyFM89.3. Here they share what stands out about XWA, from the progressive attitudes towards the curriculum and the new groundbreaking AI course to the diversity, holistic learning environment and well-appointed campus.

Tell us about the child/children you have attending the school.

Kate is a graduating senior, who just turned 18 years old. She started XCL World Academy at the beginning of her junior year, right after finishing Raffles Girls Secondary School. We’re very proud of the fact that she was accepted by Early Decision to start at the University of Chicago in Fall 2024.

Max is a 14-year-old freshman. He’s been at XCL World Academy since 6th Grade. He was previously at Tanjong Katong Primary School in Singapore’s East Coast. Both of our kids grew up in the local, Singapore school system and we are all Singapore Permanent Residents.

What led you to pick XCL World Academy?

We were looking for a diverse, international school and a change for Max. We felt that he needed a more holistic learning environment that was not available to him in his local Singapore school. Having been in Singapore since 2004 (both Kate and Max were born here), we knew about the usual international schools and have friends at nearly all of them. They’re all fine. At that time XCL was in transition from GEMS and we knew (former XCL CEO) Brian Rogove very well. We were impressed with his vision of the school being the Asia flagship institution for XCL Education and both the cash investment in new facilities (the XWA Innovation Hub and the XCL American Academy) as well as his growth mindset for the curriculum to prepare our kids for their future world. Considering these factors, it was an easy decision to have the kids attend XCL World Academy.


What do your children like most about attending the school?

There are several benefits that our kids have mentioned: diversity is a big one. XCL World Academy has one of the most diverse student bodies in Singapore; our third-culture kids, we like that. They have classmates from around the world and are building bonds that will last a lifetime. Also, the small class size and personalized attention from teachers who come from varied backgrounds. Finally, the modern and well-appointed campus.

Do you think the school helped with your child’s ambitions and career aspirations?

Hard to say at this point. Kids at this age are exploring all kinds of likes and dislikes, as they should. One thing for sure is that XWA gives them a wide variety of opportunities from the classic IB curriculum in all of its rigour – while allowing for exploration and self-expression through more innovative experiences like podcasting, esports, design courses, and overseas learning journeys. Having teachers from so many different backgrounds also gives them a window into the world that they might not be exposed to elsewhere.

What do you value most about the school?

The progressive attitudes towards curriculum (the new 15-week AI course for all Grade 6 students is groundbreaking in Singapore!), the diverse student body (both ethnicity and percentages of kids from different backgrounds… there is no “one dominant language on the playground”), and ability to communicate and connect with the teachers and staff. If a parent or a student has a good idea about something that should be taught or done at school, there is an openness on the part of faculty and staff to consider it and make it happen.


Would you recommend XCL World Academy to parents looking for an international school in Singapore?

Yes, in fact we’ve recommended XCL World Academy to quite a number of friends over the years who were looking for a positive change for their kids. Some have already joined; others wished they had! At the end of the day, students in Singapore are lucky: they will get a great education just about anywhere they go. For us, XCL World Academy blends the best of curriculum, campus, and culture… and we are extremely happy that Kate and Max are part of this learning community and we are seeing them truly excel.

Glenn and Kat van Zutphen, Kate (18) and Max (14)

In collaboration with Sassy Mama.

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